The picture above is the last thing you want to see on your Xbox360 console after spending a few hundred dollars on one.

Somehow I knew this day was going to come. When the Xbox360 was first released I didn’t run out and buy one right away and a good thing to since shortly after a lot of people did buy them I started to see reports about this red ring of death issue. For those that don’t know the red ring of death is basically an error code and the lights on the front of the Xbox360 light up red to notify you of this certain type of error.

The bad thing about this error is that if it happens to you it means you have to send your Xbox360 in for repair since there are issues with the hardware on the motherboard. As to what causes this error I have mainly heard that when the console heats up like a furnace, which it does every single time you turn it on, that the heat it produces on the inside of the console starts to break some of the solder connections for the graphics part of the motherboard and thus you end up with the red ring of death.

I have also heard you can fix the red ring of death by wrapping the Xbox360 in a towel really causing it to heat up and that might re-melt the solder and thus maybe reconnect the broken solder joints. I didn’t bother to try this since I was still in shock that I actually had a lemon for a console.

What shocked me the most was before I bought this Xbox360 I did quite a bit of research online and found out that if you had an Xbox360 with a HDMI output on it that you wouldn’t have the red ring of death because when they added the HDMI port they also fixed the solder problem and thus eliminated the red ring of death. The Xbox360 was released in November 2005 my Xbox360 had a date of 2007 on it so I figured I would have an Xbox360 that didn’t suffer from the red ring of death WRONG!

When I was doing my research on the Xbox360 I had read that if you keep it well ventilated you would also reduce the chance of the red ring of death showing up because the console wouldn’t heat up that much and you wouldn’t have the solder problem. Well in the picture below you can see I had my Xbox360 sitting on a steel rack type of thing and there is over an inch of space between the Xbox360 and the DVD player that’s under it. I also put a couple of pieces of wood on top of the Xbox360 where I had the TV sitting on it so that none of the vent holes on the top of the Xbox360 would be blocked. Despite all my attention to detail and making sure there was nothing blocking the back of the Xbox360 where its fans are, none of this seemed to matter since I still ended up with the red ring of death.

In the next two pictures you will see massive graphic corruption and this happened before the red ring of death showed up. If you see your console start to do stuff like in these two pictures you can be sure your about to experience the red ring of death first hand.

The red ring of death really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me at all now that I think about it. I have seen a few news articles claiming the failure rate of the Xbox360 to be at 30%. The Xbox360 has sold millions of units and they are saying it has a 30% failure rate? That means there has to be millions of defective units out there.

What really boggles my mind is I don’t know a single person who has had an Xbox360 that hasn’t failed at some point. I have a buddy of mine that got his Xbox360 after I got mine and he has so far returned his for servicing now 3 times. In my friends case I don’t think he ever seen the red ring of death but he was getting lockups with nearly every game he played on the thing. Do to how many times he has sent his Xbox360 in for repair and the hassle that it is to do that all the time he says he will never buy another Microsoft console again and can you blame the guy?

When my Xbox360 bit the dust I was dreading the return process, the first time I called the support number I was basically told via automated message to go online and fill out all the information needed to send the unit back. After calling that number another time and going through all the menu options I finally got in touch with a HUMAN and from there I was able to give them the info and then they sent out the box for me to return the Xbox360 back to them for repair.

One thing I was concerned about was I had heard Microsoft stopped sending the shipping boxes out with the postage already paid and now you had to go get the box yourself and pay for it so I wasn’t impressed with this at all. However Microsoft did send the shipping box which I was happy to see and I put the Xbox360 in it minus the hard drive and took it back to the Purolator place where they took it off my hands and sent it away for repair.

While I was at the Purolator place I asked the women there if they had a lot of the Xbox360’s coming in for repairs and she laughed and said she has people dropping off defective Xbox360’s every day. With that I left the Purolator place and went home and wondered how long it would take to get the Xbox360 back.

Much to my surprise I got My Xbox360 back in about 3 days time. This surprised me because my friend who had his Xbox360 repaired numerous times waited like a month each time to get his Xbox360 back.

I now have my Xbox360 back and I’m wondering how long it will play for before I see yet another red ring of death. I think the one thing that amazes me the most is how Microsoft managed to skirt a recall of Xbox360. If this were any other consumer product there would have been a recall issued with something that had a failure rate as high as the Xbox360 is. I think the failure rate of the Xbox360 is way higher than the reports I have seen because like I said above I don’t know anyone with the console who has not had issues.

The other thing that miffs me a bit is the fact when you get your Xbox360 back from repair they give you 30 days free of Xbox live gold. I think for the hassle and the headache of dealing with this red ring of death, users should get at least 1 year free of Xbox live gold.

In conclusion I think this is the last console I would purchase from Microsoft. Any company that just releases things like this and knows ahead of time of these problems, is really trying to get one up on its customers and for me that just don’t sit right. Maybe Microsoft in the future will make sure their hardware is better built and doesn’t have such short comings. At the end of the day Microsoft was the first company to have the next gen console out the door before Sony and Nintendo but look at the price they paid for that. The failure rate of the Xbox360 is so bad that Microsoft had to change/extend the warranty on the Xbox360 and they also had to set aside billions of dollars to handle repair costs. If Microsoft had of built the Xbox360 properly to start with, they wouldn’t have had to set aside billions of dollars for repairs and worry about loads of unhappy customers.